Bishop and Cabinet Begin the 2015 Appointment Process
From Bishop Goodpaster
The process of appointing clergy to our churches is one of the most important responsibilities assigned to the Bishop and the Cabinet, and one of the most visible and distinctive features of the connectional nature of our church. Bishop Goodpaster and the Cabinet met last week (February 23-27) in the first of three retreats specifically intended to prayerfully review, assess, and discern where all clergy will be appointed for the coming conference year which begins on July 1.
During their week together, the Cabinet spent time in prayer and in conversation about the churches, the networks, and the clergy in each district. This annual appraisal provides an overview of the mission as it is being lived out across our conference, as well as information regarding those people and places where a change of appointment will be necessary. In addition, the Cabinet spent one afternoon with Kim Ingram, Sally Queen, and Gary Shockley and heard from them information about available candidates, graduating seminary students, and opportunities for planting new churches and strategic partnerships. But these are only the first steps of an on-going process of prayer, discernment, conversation, and review.
At the end of the week, the superintendents returned to their assigned districts to continue consultations both with clergy and with Pastor-Parish Relations Committees. It is through that process that the task of appointment-making truly becomes a collaborative effort. The Book of Discipline
defines consultation as a process in which the bishop and the superintendents learn about and “take into account the unique needs of a charge, the community context, and also the gifts and evidence of God’s grace of a particular pastor.” (Paragraph 427)
In a statement to the Conference, Bishop Goodpaster said: “We are keenly aware of the anxiety that these months of the year create among our churches and clergy. As a Cabinet, we are deeply committed to appointing clergy to churches so that the mission of Christ is extended across our conference and into the world, and to do so without regard to race, age, or gender. While there are many factors which make this work more and more challenging, we fervently seek God’s guidance, and believe that God will bless our efforts. We covet the prayers of everyone.”
Some of those challenges reflect continuing trends that have emerged in recent years. Many churches find it necessary when there is a pastoral change to reduce the salary. This creates gaps in the system, and means that many clergy have to move at salary cuts. Again this year, the Western North Carolina Conference has more clergy entering the appointment system (new candidates, seminary graduates, and those returning from leaves) than we have clergy who are retiring. Even though it places a great deal of stress on the itinerant system, we take seriously spouse employment, family concerns, and requests for a limited geographical appointment. We cannot, however, accommodate all such requests.
Over the next several weeks, the Cabinet will meet twice in five day retreats (March 23-27 and April 13-17) which will again be characterized by prayer, conversation, and discernment. The Bishop does not anticipate churches or clergy hearing anything definitive until the end of April, with the general public announcement of the appointments scheduled for the first Sunday of May. In the meantime, the Bishop and Cabinet urge everyone to be in prayer for this work, whether you are involved in a change of appointments this year or not. It is in this way that we demonstrate our connectional system as we pray for one another and for God’s mission in the world.
Resources for Vital Congregations
Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor
GBHEM Leadership Resources
Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church
Englewood Book Review
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
Ted Talks: The Golden Circle
Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability
Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability
Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians
Be A Disciple
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network
Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations
Living As United Methodist Christians
Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials
Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today
John Wesley Sermons: Anthology
Get Their Name
Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit
Canoeing the Mountains
Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People
Community: The Structure of Belonging
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
Institute for Emerging Issues
Congregations 4 Children
The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants
The Duke Endowment
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at email@example.com.